Spokane's historic Ice Storm is now 21 years old - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane's historic Ice Storm is now 21 years old

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Photo: Dan Hagerman Photo: Dan Hagerman
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Friday marked two years since windstorm 2015 knocked down trees, caused massive damage and left thousands of people without power in and around Spokane. Just a few days later marks another historic weather-related anniversary in the region: Ice Storm 1996. Sunday, November 19, is the 21st anniversary of Ice Storm.

It began as just another drizzly day in Spokane, but by its end, November 19 had produced one of the region's worst storms in 60 years.

Before freezing rain hit on that day,  there was already between two and four inches of snow on the ground around the city. Later that day, up to an inch and a half of freezing rain fell, coating trees, roads and power lines in a slippery glaze. 

According to NOAA, the official weather station for the city at Spokane International Airport recorded a high temperature of only 33 degrees and 1.24 inches of precipitation in the form of rain, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, snow and mist. The station also reported freezing fog.

The weight of the ice knocked down trees and power lines. The mayor declared a state of emergency. More than half Spokane's residents lost electricity, which was the worst power outage in 108 years. Three days later, 100,000 people in the surrounding county were still without power. Six days after the storm, 20,000 people were still without power.

Four deaths were reportedly related to the storm and its aftermath. Total damage was estimated at over $22 million.

For more information about Ice Storm 1996 from the National Weather Service, click here: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/otx/cases/19Nov1996/icestorm.php

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